bits on bittman, porkshoulder and risotto





before i start in on this here is the dish from today’s bittman times:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/the-10-ingredient-shopping-trip/
certainly interesting for those who don’t have the time (?) to shop.
i would also recommend highly to peruse a bit of bittman at his main site:
http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/
he de man. no question, i love following his notions and treasure his cool ventures ‘round the kitchen and hope you become an aficionado of his work at the times.

the other day i bought a pork shoulder. the butcher at pastaworks in portland is always so very accommodating. his pork was fed on hazelnuts or acorns, or blueberries, or something. (couldn’t have it any other way, could i, just like fritz at nero wolfe’s) the guy weighed me a piece about 2 pounds. a beautiful piece. stephanie, of famed “last but not least” in my bio, had given me a classic 8 inch pyrex dish, and in went the pork, garlic spiked, olive oil, pepper corns, five cipollini onions (they hung around the kitchen with nothing else to do) and the whole thing went off into an oven at 300. i took a nap and woke to a wondrously redolent aroma some two hours later. my inquisitive cat as companion, the meat was tender, moist, radiant of garlic, i ate hot pork slices on toast, it was divine. sipping a single malt, needless to say it got late.
to come to the point. the rest of the pork hung around the fridge for three days, au jus mind you, and was now tendered into a risotto of some repute, if i may say so myself. never mind multi-tasking batman from the times (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/02/dining/02mini.html?scp=3&sq=bittman%20asparagus%20risotto&st=cse) i like to stir my risotto. a cool beer for company over a hot stove, stirring, ladling, stirring some more, ladling again, as everybody knows, that’s how it goes. my mother was into shoes. food was to be eaten, though not from her kitchen. she used it for coffee and later, years later, to micro some frozens. if your mom is italian she’d want you to use carnaroli. an excellent choice. i’ve used all manner of short grain, round rice, but have really come to like a japanese sushi variety called kokuho rose. anyways, i took my measuring cup off the hook, an old limoges, highly ornate, alas chipped. i use it when proportions are wanted. one cup of rice to seven cups of liquid. in typical risotto fashion you need two sauce pans of sorts, holding two quarts each, one for the rice, the other for the juice. the juice for this deal was the above “au jus”, including the onions and some bits of garlic, extended with water to measure about seven cups. fat spooned off the top and used to coat the rice. you’ll use of course what you have, olive oil or such. any broth will work but flavors will vary hence.

ingredients:

7 cu broth, bits of meat and onion from the pork shoulder, simmering
2 Tbsp pork fat
1 cu kokuho rice
1/2 cu white wine
1 tsp saffron well softened in warm water
strips (julienne) of pork meat
chopped chives
grated parmesan

method:

heat the pork fat over high till it bubbles then add the rice to coat. cook and stir until it becomes glossy, somewhat transparent. slowly stir in the wine until it is absorbed. add half a cup of the simmering broth and the softened saffron until almost reduced. keep stirring and ladling half-cups in this manner, cooking and stirring until the rice is tender, but firm to the bite, for some twenty minutes. cool a spoon full of rice before testing as it is scalding hot straight from the pan. remove from the heat when ready and set aside. gently stir in the pork meat, top with chives and grated parmesan. serve and enjoy.